Rutgers University’s Business School, in Newark, announced today it is partnering with President Barack Obama‘s administration to present a summit on urban entrepreneurship June 6.
According to Rutgers’ Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development, the Obama administration is looking for ways to spark entrepreneurship in urban areas and to create public-private partnerships — a primary goal of CUEED.
“Entrepreneurship is the foundation for community revitalization and economic development,” said Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership CEO Jill Johnson. “The discussion is a great one, because often the inherent challenges in starting or growing a business in urban centers are overlooked, especially when the conversation gets to the community level.”
“The way to overcome those challenges and limitations of resources is to exercise creativity,” said DT Ogilvie, founding director of CUEED. “To find ways to overcome barriers, to go around barriers, to amass resources that one needs to run a business requires creativity and imagination — and a lot of urban entrepreneurs exhibit that.”
The summit, to be held on the Newark campus, will include remarks by Mayor Cory Booker, hip-hop business mogul Russell Simmons, Obama adviser Derek Douglas and Marie Johns, the deputy administrator of the U.S. Small Business Association.
The daylong event, which is invitation only, will look at creating jobs, supporting current entrepreneurs and encouraging a new generation of urban entrepreneurs.
Ogilvie said the idea for the summit was born out of a dinner with Jerome Williams, research director for the center, and Michael Skolnik, a close adviser and business partner of Simmons. According to Ogilvie, Skolnik suggested the CUEED work with the White House.
‘A challenge for everyone’
Johnson said she is excited for the summit because she believes action-oriented ideas will be an outcome, as well as new alliances and partnerships for the entrepreneurial community.
“Getting the word out about your business, product or services; finding new customers; getting access to capital — that’s a challenge for everyone,” Johnson said. “Oftentimes, there is an unwillingness of capital providers generally to look in urban centers when they are looking to fund deals … whether that be loans, angel investment dollars or venture capitalists, that’s been a challenge. To even get the customer base potential to go into certain communities to purchase products or services can be a challenge.”
“Our goal is to create wealth in urban communities by putting people into business, and helping people in business thrive and grow their businesses,” Ogilvie said. “What we’d like to do is create a model that can be used all over the country in urban areas tailored to particular neighborhood or particular community, but a basic model that can be transferred around the country that can make a real difference.”